A hearty beef stew is the epitome of comfort food. Not a fan of mushrooms? Omit them without missing a beat in the final dish.



/2 lb extra-thick bacon, cut in 1/4-inch pieces

2 lb stewing beef cut in cubes

2 tbsp robust extra virgin olive oil

Flour for sprinkling

Kosher salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

5 large carrots, peeled and sliced in horizontal coins

2 celery stalks, trimmed, roughly chopped

2 large onions, peeled, roughly chopped

1-1/2 cups red wine

2 cups button mushrooms, stem trimmed and cut in half lengthwise

3 large russet or Yukon gold potatoes, cleaned and cut in 1-inch cubes

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes

1/4 cup Red Apple dark balsamic

1 cup beef stock/broth

4 unpeeled garlic cloves

1 thyme sprigs

Optional: Substitute Red Apple dark balsamic with Black Currant, Blackberry Ginger, Neapolitan Herb, Pomegranate or Fig


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On medium heat, fry bacon pieces until crispy. Remove from pan and set aside on paper towel. Keep bacon grease in pan. Rinse beef well and completely dry. Add olive oil to pan with bacon grease, then add half the beef to brown on all sides. Repeat with remaining beef. Place beef and bacon in oven proof dish. Sprinkle generously with flour, salt and pepper. Toss to coat beef. Place in oven for 5 minutes. Toss again and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Place carrots and celery in the frying pan and saute in fat residue until just brown. Transfer to Dutch oven or slow cooker. 

Add onions to frying pan and saute until soft. Use a little red wine to deglaze frying pan. Add to Dutch oven or slow cooker.

Saute in frying pan in olive oil until brown and golden. Add to slow cooker. 

Place beef, bacon, potatoes and diced tomatoes with their juice in Dutch oven or slow cooker. Combine and then pour in wine, balsamic and broth to cover the meat and vegetables. Add cloves of garlic, scattered over the top.

Reduce oven to 325 degrees. Cook in Dutch oven for 2-12 hours or for 6 to 8 hours in a slow cooker on low. 

SOURCE: Olive Oil & Vinegar Lover's Cookbook